How The Energy System Is Structured
The National Energy Commission is partially responsible for regulating the energy industry in Spain. The National Energy Commission (or Comisión Nacional de Energía) is a part of the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Tourism. It is meant to aide in the regulation of the energy industry, but does not function as an independent government agency. However, it mostly provides consultation since it has no legislative power. This means that any legislation regarding the Spanish energy sector is left to the Central Government. If a new energy policy will affect current legislation in Spain, the Parliament must vote on whether or not to enact the policy. Once the legislation is enacted, the National Energy Commission then oversees its execution.
In Spain, the energy industry is privately owned. Only 1% of oil and gas is domestically produced in Spain, meaning that the vast majority of its fossil fuels must be imported. Gas Natural is the clear dominator of the oil and gas industry, and even owns Union Fenosa, an electricity supply company. Because Spain is home to many windy plains, it is a large producer of wind energy. Other large players in the electricity sector include Iberdrola, Endesa, and Red Eléctrica de España (REE), of which the government owns a 20% stake. The benefits of wind energy are many for Spain since it means less reliance on other countries to import fossil fuels, and of course it is a clean energy that would help Spain lower its greenhouse gas emissions
Overall, fossil fuels account for the majority of energy production in Spain. However, these numbers can be slightly misleading since, despite the setbacks in the renewable energy sector as a result of an economic crisis, renewable and “alternative” energies still make up 22.6% of total energy use. Furthermore, renewable energies have a firm place in the production of electricity. Recent data shows wind power accounting for 21% of electricity production, and hydropower accounting for up to 19%. While Spain still has a ways to go in order to meet its environmental health targets, it appears to be on the right track.
Profiles of Leading Energy Companies
Grupo DISA: A relatively “up and coming” company, Grupo DISA (Distribuidora Industrial SA) provides gas for automobiles, as well as propane and butane for home and business use. Originally a company that was meant to provide development to the Canary Islands, Grupo DISA surprised the country when they purchased over 300 Shell gas stations in Spain in 2004. This purchase more than doubled their properties and solidified Grupo DISA’s presence as a frontrunner in the industry. Grupo DISA is also responsible for pioneering the concept of the residential propane tank in Spain. Largely used for cooking, prices for 35 kg tanks of propane are currently at 59.80 Euros, and prices for 11 kg tanks are at 9.54. In 2015, Grupo DISA began to expand into renewable energies, although natural gas and propane remain its biggest assets. The company bought a solar panel production plant, which now makes it the biggest producer of solar panels in the Canary Islands. Grupo DISA serves several thousands of automobile owners, homeowners, and now those interested in solar panels. It appears as though Grupo DISA has set itself up for continued success and expansion in the future. The terms of the Paris Agreement and their effect on Grupo DISA, however, remain to be seen, since this company would continue to elevate Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next five to ten years.
Grupo DISA is taking certain measures to try to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. First, the purchase of a solar panel production plant is a clear move toward renewable energies. Second, Grupo DISA is working on the development of a biofuel made from the jatropha plant, which is readily available in the Canary Islands. The efforts made in relation to natural gas and propane are less clear: Grupo DISA claims it sells “autogas,” a cleaner burning fuel. Finally, the company states that it has an integrated policy for Security, Health, & the Environment. 
Grupo DISA has a lot to lose with Spain’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. First, the burning of fossil fuels would only further distance Spain from its target emission levels. Second, much of Grupo DISA’s business is selling fuel for cars and transportation. The transportation sector is Spain’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and efforts are being taken to reduce consumption in this area, which would mean less business for Grupo DISA. Furthermore, Spain has recently implemented the Efficient Vehicle Incentive Program and the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which encourages the use of vehicles that are more energy efficient.
Gamesa: Gamesa is a wind energy company with a worldwide presence. Having capitalized on the windy plains of Andalucía, Gamesa has installed up to 263 wind farms worldwide with an annual production of 7,460 MW. Wind energy has a very clear presence in Spain, especially in electricity production. As a result, Gamesa should benefit from the terms of the Paris Agreement, and continue to grow since, being a clean energy source, Gamesa would help Spain lower its greenhouse gas emissions over the next five to ten years.
Gamesa suffered as a result of recent budget cuts to the renewable energy industry. However, moving forward, policies relating to the Paris Agreement should benefit Gamesa because it offers an energy source that would greatly reduce Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Andrea Delmar Senties